Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rock Star Tim

He looks like a pleasant enough fellow. By all accounts, he is a nice guy. But make no mistake. That fresh-faced kid is dangerous.

Tim Lincecum turns 24 years old in a couple of days and he's rapidly becoming a nightmare for big-league hitters. He arrived in the majors last year with a stupid-fast fastball, a slightly-askew delivery, and that Opie Taylor look.

People wondered, at first, if the Giants were rushing their prized first-round draft choice. Nobody's wondering any more.

Lincecum still has the blazing fastball, but he's added a nasty little curve and his changeup is now on a par with the best (think Trevor Hoffman in his prime). What's a hitter to do? Often, in Mike Krukow's words, "Grab some pine, Meat!"

But the best thing about watching Lincecum pitch is his attitude. There's that little sneer on his face when he throws. And there's a growing sense of a guy who is lord of all he surveys. In last night's game against the Rockies, he appeared to have retired the side on a swinging strikeout. Lincecum was almost across the foul line on his way to the dugout when he realized the third-base umpire had ruled a foul tip, a call you almost never see.

No worries for Rock Star Tim. He went back to the mound, struck the guy out again, and then fixed a nice steely glare on the ump as he left the field. He may look like a scrawny kid, but he's large and in charge.

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